A Perfectly Imperfect Pregnancy
As I near the end of my pregnancy with Olivia, I can't help but to reflect back on some things. I wouldn't necessarily call this an easy pregnancy, but I do know plenty have had it much harder than I have. I think I knew from the beginning that this pregnancy would differ from Miles but I never expected such an emotional roller coaster.
In those early months of pregnancy, I felt a constant wave of emotions; happiness, sadness, anger, annoyance. I guess this is what is considered to be "hormonal", but whatever it was I definitely did not feel like myself. All I knew was that my self-doubt was growing. Was I ready to be a mother of two? Was I ready for those dreaded newborn phases again? Would I neglect Miles unintentionally? I would cry to David about these things repeatedly wondering how people out there really do manage these things.
On top of the extra emotion was the scare of COVID and the precautions that came along with it. Now in my 9th month of pregnancy, I still attend every single appointment alone. In the beginning, my fear was if something were to go wrong how could the one person I needed to pick me up when all comes crashing down be there for me. It was a fear I carried for a while and when I expressed it to some, I was told not to think in a negative way. I went into every appointment with a brave face, but fearful heart.
Things were going well in the beginning, until what I had been dreading the most happened. I was scheduled for an anatomy scan around week 20 of the pregnancy and I noticed the tech spending more time looking at the baby's head. Tears were rolling out the side of my eyes in that dark room because there was that sinking feeling knowing I was about to be told something is wrong.
Once I saw the doctor, I was told my baby girl had 2 cysts in her brain which could be an indicator for a chromosomal abnormality called trisomy 18. Basically, a condition that causes severe developmental delays and can result in a shortened life span. She spent the next 20 minutes reassuring me that they would probably be gone in 2 weeks and not to worry. I think I tuned out the rest of the conversation because my throat felt closed and my eyes were burning with tears I wouldn't let fall. Even as I walked out, the tech grabbed my arm and reassured me that it would be okay. My mind was racing, my heart felt broken, and I needed to get out of there.
Calling David was one of the harder things to do between sobs. Were we strong enough to handle a special needs child? I remembered how difficult it was trying to wrap my head around the fact that Miles is autistic when he was initially diagnosed. But this? This was something on a bigger scale. Definitely more than I was prepared to handle.
Leaning on David was about the only thing I could do in those passing 2 weeks. He told me something that I probably would never forget. He said we love Miles just the way he is and we would do the same for any child of ours because they are OURS. When that appointment did finally come around after 2 dreaded weeks, I couldn't wait to get into that ultrasound room. I think the tech was anxious as well since she had been doing all my ultrasounds from the beginning and almost didn't even put her bag down to get my test started. The first thing she said is "let's check for those cysts". As soon as I saw the zoomed in picture of my baby girl's big ol' head, it was clear as day that what was seen before was no longer there.
I cried. Could it really be? I think I had been walking around with that sinking feeling the entire pregnancy that good news felt unreal. Things have been great though in terms of development, but to this day I still have a hard time being as blissfully pregnant as I was with Miles.
Finding out I had gestational diabetes was another hurdle. I had been down the road of 2 glucose tests with Miles so I wasn't all that concerned when I had to have the 3 hour test. What I least expected was to actually fail. As emotional as I had been the entire pregnancy, it doubled the day I found out I was diabetic. I went from eating as I wanted to now being a full blown diabetic expected to prick my finger 4 times a day and count how many carbs I was eating per meal. The looming threat of insulin injections over my head if I couldn't stay diet controlled.
By far the first 2 weeks were the hardest. I was probably eating the bare minimum and my numbers showed it. Anxiety was getting to me, I was making life decisions at every meal. In the first two weeks, Olivia managed to grow even though I had lost weight. The comments people were making were only making things worse but what took the cake was my guilt.
Did I do this?
The first morning I woke up to check my sugar, my heart was beating in my ears. How many patients did I teach to use this same exact machine? Even still, my shaky hands couldn't put the lancet in right and I ended up poking myself with an exposed needle by accident. Seeing that first good number made me more optimistic though, I could get through this.
My doctor is convinced I had some underlying issues with Miles in terms of diabetes and that I most likely would not have been able to prevent it with this pregnancy. Well that was comforting I guess but what I can say is I probably would not be having as healthy of a pregnancy as I am now because of this diagnosis.
What I have learned is that, I can overcome many hurdles. Most importantly, I would endure anything for my babies. I would prick myself double, cry a million tears over, and do it over again if it meant having them.
I guess you don't realize the extent of your love until those tiny hearts depend on you.